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Vol. 71, No. 10
ISSN: 1488-2159
November 2005


Methamphetamine and Its Impact on Dental Care


• Gary D. Klasser, DMD, Cert Orofacial Pain •
• Joel Epstein, DMD, MSD, FRCD(C) •

A b s t r a c t

Dental professionals should be aware that methamphetamine (MA) use is on the rise in
North America. MA is a potent central nervous system stimulant with limited therapeutic
effects. The allure of this drug is its availability in many different forms that are relatively
easy to make and distribute and inexpensive to purchase and that produce prolonged
euphoria for the user. This euphoria results from alteration of the normal physiologic processing of several centrally acting neurotransmitters, which also causes neurotoxicity and neurodegeneration with long-term use. Long-term use of MA has been associated with severe oral health effects, the most notable being a distinctive pattern of caries called methamphetamine-induced caries. Dental professionals need to recognize and understand patients who may be using MA and the risk factors associated with its deleterious oral effects. This knowledge will allow appropriate and effective preventive and treatment strategies for users of this drug.


MeSH Key Words: dental caries/etiology; methamphetamine/adverse effects; substance-related disorders/complication
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